Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Personal Safety

Our district strongly encourages counselors to teach at least one personal safety lesson each year as part of the counseling curriculum.  We use some of the Committee for Children's talking about touching materials, primarily in kindergarten.  The skills the children are taught are "the Always Ask First Rule," the Touching Rule, and the Safety Steps. The Steps are: 1. Say words that mean "No," 2. Get away, and 3. Tell a grown-up.  Our county does not want us using the language good touch-bad touch.  The Committee for Children materials use safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches. We reinforce these same skills in grade one and use the book Not Everyone Is Nice for a springboard to the discussion.  In both grades we send home parent letters the same week we teach these important skills so they can be reinforced by parents and caregivers.  In grade 2 we switch to using the curriculum provided free by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Got2BSAFE! We like these materials because they address children in the 8 to 10 age range that are being granted more freedom and need the "Think smart and Take Charge" message in the program.  There is a great parent letter that refers them to the web site for additional ways to practice these life saving skills.  What materials are you using in your program?

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Tagxedo has many uses in the school counseling program. This heart cloud represents all the words on my blog. You can have each member of a small group make their own cloud to introduce themselves to the group, use a cloud to introduce key concepts in a classroom lesson, or make thank you cards for National School Counseling Week. The possibilities are endless. Check out this free Web 2.0 tool at

SPLIT - A Film for (and by) Kids of Divorce

A great film for changing family group. SPLIT is a deeply personal film made in collaboration with children aged 6-12, exploring the often frightening and always life-altering separation of their parents.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Video Need for Postsecondary Education

THINK Postsecondary

Our school district has encouraged elementary counselors to push a prekindergarten to 16 initiative and promote college and career readiness.  A ballpark estimate regarding the education and training experiences of the parents of our students would be over 90% attended a four-year, over 5% served or are military  (but 98% of them eventually graduated from college), and less than 5% other.  I avoid promoting only college as a postsecondary option.  I do not want to give students the impression that everyone must go to a four-year college after high school.  If you have not read the 2011 Harvard study Pathways to Prosperity I highly recommend you do so. It speaks to postsecondary education being the key to the American dream but raises questions about how much and what type of postsecondary education is needed in our current economy.  I discuss postsecondary options in career lessons at grades 2-5.  Students need to know early that they will need more education and training after high school graduation and begin to develop a sense of what are the options. This bulletin board outside my office shows the start of this pathway (elementary, middle, and high) as well as community college, vocational school, military, college, and advanced studies.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kindness Counts

February is a good month to emphasize to students how important it is to be helpful and kind in your day to day life – at school, with friends, with neighbors.  There are some great books on kindness to share with students depending on their age level.  After we share a book then I had each student draw an act of kindness on a cut out of their own hand.  I shaped the hands into a giant heart (using white and pink rows.  I borrowed the idea for the bulletin board from Pinterest. Check out "Be kind. Pass it on."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Here is the laminated sign we use every year that is hanging in the main hall this week.  This year it is decorated with deflated helium balloons because our students are into reusing materials to save the planet.  I feel very appreciated today because I got a note and gift from the administration, a colleague, a parent, a class, and a student.  It is very gratifying to know someone thinks I "know how to help students navigate and appreciate their education."  I will have some treasurers from this week to save in my smile file for days that don't go as well as today!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fill the buckets of those who support the school counseling program this week

These are the appreciation gifts that have a drop attached saying,

"Thanks for filling our bucket by supporting the school counseling program."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

National School Counseling Week

Next week my co-counselor and we will be using National School Counseling Week to promote our program and thank our supporters.  Our district is considering reducing the number of elementary counselors so we know it is important to recognize those who can advocate for the elementary counseling program in our school and district.  I sent the ASCA description of the week to our principal for her Notes to parents and staff and our PTA President for their electronic newsletter.  We will put an announcement out to our staff on our Blackboard site as well.We have a banner to hand in the main hall. We are filling a bucket for our administrators with a note on a drop thanking them for their support.  We will also thank the members of our advisory council at our meeting that will be held Thursday of National School Counseling Week.  We put the districts news release about NSCW on our web page.  On Friday we will thank our whole staff by providing a bucket of treats in the staff lounge. On Friday evening of NSCW the counseling program is co-sponsoring with the PTA our school's first multicultural pot luck dinner and performances. Happy National School Counseling Week!